Philips plans to extend its footprint in the lucrative healthcare market, building on previously released products and its newly unveiled partnership with Salesforce.com.
In its first salvo on Thursday, the Dutch electronics company unveiled an open, cloud-based healthcare platform that features Philips' medical technologies, clinical applications, and clinical informatics, integrated with Salesforce.com's cloud-based customer relationship management system. Derek Smith, CEO of Philips Hospital to Home, told us the initial products -- the clinical applications Philips eCareCoordinator and Philips eCareCompanion -- will be available soon.
"We're launching our first two applications this summer," he said. "They're only two of a long line of things we have planned."
Philips has a large variety of healthcare products ranging from MRIs and mammography to diagnostic ECG and patient monitoring systems. The company is counting on its reputation, along with its data and pending partnerships, to carve out a piece of the multibillion-dollar healthcare market, since it has a presence across the entire continuum of care.
Telehealth is one critical element. The accountable care organization Banner Health uses Philips Hospital to Home clinical program, and the new offerings will enable it to monitor patients in their homes. Philips already provides telehealth services, working with customers such as Mercy Hospital via its eICU program and TeleStroke offering.
"With this strategic alliance, Philips is making great strides to deliver real-time, digital healthcare solutions," Philips CEO Frans van Houten said in a press release. "Healthcare data exists in many different forms and in many different systems today. Together with Salesforce.com, we have a tremendous opportunity to reshape and optimize the way healthcare is delivered and provide better access to data across the continuum of care."
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Philips sells several wearable medical devices, such as the IntelliVue MX40 for patient monitoring and the DirectLife activity monitor. It hopes to expand its reach further in the consumer-focused market. The market for wearable electronics, which provide patients with both clinical data and motivation, is valued at about $1.5 billion this year. For chronic conditions such as COPD, diabetes, or heart disease, the combination of wearable technology and telehealth, backed by cloud-based clinical and patient information systems, can improve care and reduce costs, Smith said.
The company also wants to expand its reach in the apps market, where it already offers products for Android and iOS. "We will be working with apps, even if they're not all connected with our brand new platform," Smith said. "That's the goal in the future."
And Philips will create APIs and SDKs so third-party developers can write their own applications for its platform.
The first two available apps focus on population health, but Philips and Salesforce.com said they are working together to address self-care and prevention, diagnosis and treatment, recovery, and wellness. Based on the Salesforce1 Platform, the jointly developed platform integrates data from multiple sources such as electronic health records, diagnostic and treatment information from Philips' imaging equipment, monitoring gear, personal devices, and technologies such as Apple's HealthKit.
Apple, of course, has its own plans in this market. So do Google and a host of other well-established organizations and startups. Philips hopes its name recognition among clinicians will propel it above the pack, that its partnership with Salesforce.com will give it the infrastructure prowess to compete successfully, and that healthcare's continuing embrace of telehealth as a cost-effective means of delivering quality care will give it an edge.
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